In 1914, the year the YMCA building was erected on West Congress
street, Tucson was a young community. There were 2,851 students enrolled in the public school system and the University of
Arizona had 308 students.
By 1944 it was recognized as outmoded and inadequate. A much larger
YMCA was needed and a fund raising campaign was launched. In 1949 a second effort was made to raise funds and ground
broke on the corner of 6th Street and 5th Avenue. A nobler deed did not exist, however by the early 1950's the structure
was not completed. A third campaign, "LET'S FINISH THIS NOW", began. The monies were raised and in gratitude to the Loshe
family efforts it was renamed The Loshe YMCA.
The YMCA served the community by providing a pool where Tucson
High School boys could swim and where residents could play handball and enjoy other atheletic diversions. As Tucson grew,
this building also became inadequate and a new "Y" was opened on Alemeda.
The old 516 building was used in many various endeavors by
the city. It even became a training ground for Police dogs.
The building was beginning to show it's age and fell into
disrepair. The prospect that it would be leveled and used as a parking lot was almost a reality. Then, in 1992,
a group of visionaries approached the city with an idea of bringing the community back into the old "Y". When negotiations
were finished an International Arts Center was born. As the new millennium aproached the building ceased operation as a
residential artist facility and opened it's doors to Tucson for studio rental, rehearsal and event space.
It has been home to many organizations that have actually
outgrown the 53,000 sq ft space.Third Street Kids, Arts for All was able to prosper in the building until they moved into
their own facility. We are priveleged to recognize the Tucson Blues Society as one of the first non-profits to benefit from
the special rates offered to non-profits.
In 2003, with an active non-profit organization in full support
of the programs and events, it became a destination place for Community Based Organizations as well as National and International
The Tucson Jazz Academy, serving middle and high school aged
musicians, is nestled neatly in the building and on Sundays from noon to eight you can hear the melodies permeate
the air. The Vineyard Church also has its offices in the Building and holds services in our 6,000 sq ft auditorium on Sundays.
The Arizona Fencing Academy has been a valued and long time tenant, occupying what was once a small gym upstairs. Nathalia,
a repertoire theatre company, has used space for rehearsals and performances. Coming To and The Teen Spotlight Theater occupy
a "shared space" for actors.
A.I.R. (Art In Reality), the county-wide program, offers many
of their 20 programs here at the building. We have the Muse Pottery Studio, which offers classes as well as open studio
opportunities for independent potters. Funkamentals, a recording company that focuses on teaching Core subjects to youngsters
through Music, is on the Main Floor. We have nearly 50 artists in our spaces, Plein Air, Visual Artists, Sculptors,
Writers, and Musicians.We hold CD release parties such as the Mariachi Sonido de Mexico, Foundation Records and SAMI
Records. We have several Film Premiers for novice and mid-career directors each season.
The building is used for TPAC and Arizona Commission on the
Arts events and meetings and has been the home for many SAAF (Southern
Arizona Aids Foundation) events and fundraisers.
In 2003 ArtFare.org recieved a 1911 Gordon-Franklin LetterPress
which was originally housed here, it will be used as intended and returned to the printing of materials needed for the daily
operations of the facility as it was original used for the support of the "Y" in its printing needs.
We have Exhibition Galleries, and offer tours of the
building after most events and by appointment. The building has served as an integral part of the Old Pueblo Community
since its inception.We invite you to visit this historic landmark building and share in its creative development.